Trail Blazers vs Warriors Live: The Portland Trail Blazers and the Golden State Warriors clash in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night. Western Conference teams vying for a spot in the NBA Finals as the No. 1 seed Golden State Warriors will take on the No. 3 seed Portland Trail Blazers in the conference finals. This will mark their third playoff meeting in the past four seasons.
The Warriors punched their ticket into the Western finals first by taking down James Harden and the Houston Rockets in six hard-fought games. They didn’t come out unscathed, though, as Kevin Durant went down with a calf strain in Game 5 and could miss a substantial portion of this series. Still, they have plenty of talent as they continue their journey toward a three-peat.
As for the Trail Blazers, they needed to rally from 17 down to beat the Denver Nuggets on the road in Game 7 in what was arguably the best series the playoffs so far. Now, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will try to do what no team in the West has been able to do since 2014: take down the Warriors. Game 1 is Tuesday night at Oracle.
Trail Blazers: When Jusuf Nurkic went down with his gruesome, season-ending leg injury in late March, the consensus was that the Blazers’ season was done. They would make the playoffs, of course, and maybe win a first-round series, but no one expected they would go on a deep playoff run in the crowded West. In fact, when they were matched up with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, almost everyone picked them to lose. And yet here they are, in the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2000, and set for a matchup against the mighty Golden State Warriors.
Warriors: For the fifth straight season, the Warriors have advanced to the Western Conference finals, and they’ll be looking to make it the same number of consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. But their road to a three-peat got a bit more complicated with Kevin Durant’s injury in Game 5 of their second-round series with the Rockets. Now, in year five of their dynasty, they’ll have to rely on the original big three of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green as much as they did in year one. Perhaps that’s fitting though, with big roster changes, including a potential Durant departure — likely in the summer.
The Trail Blazers beat the Nuggets 100-96 in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals last Sunday behind a game-high 37 points from CJ McCollum. Evan Turner put up 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench and Damian Lillard had 13 points despite shooting just 3-for-17 from the field and he also added 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
Sports analytics and strategy site Positive Residual broke down McCollum’s electrifying performance, explaining that he had a 29 percent usage and 30 true shot attempts, including 4-for-4 around the left elbow, where he drained the game clincher. Only two of McCollum’s 17 made field goals were assisted. He finished without a turnover and had a memorable chasedown.
Rodney Hood left the game in the third quarter due to a hyperextended left knee and an MRI revealed that he has a left knee bone bruise. Hood is questionable for tomorrow’s game the Warriors. It was next man up for the Trail Blazers and Evan Turner embraced the opportunity, scoring 14 points in 19 minutes after having just four points in the first six games of the series and just three points in the five games against the Thunder.
Lillard is the heart and soul of the Trail Blazers and he will make sure his teammates play with that fearless mentality in what will be a great series.